7,700 acres, 12 structure burned in Pawnee Fire, mandatory evacuations ordered

- Fire crews are working to extinguish a wind-driven wildfire that has torched 7,700-acres in Lake County and forced evacuations, officials said. 

The Pawnee Fire, which began Saturday near the small community of Clearlake Oaks, doubled in size overnight. Three-thousand people have been forced out of their homes. There’s mandatory evacuations for all of Spring Valley. As of 5:30 p.m., the fire was zero percent contained.

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"What we're stressing is that people, when they get the evacuation order, they heed it immediately and get out and stay out until it is safe to return," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said. 

Firefighters say 12 structures have burned, with 600 others threatened. The fire, fueled by erratic winds, low humidity and high temperatures, is burning in a very steep canyon, which makes the work difficult for firefighters. And there is also a lot of tall, dry grass.

"It's kind of the worst possible combination," Cox said. 

No injuries were reported. High temperatures and low humidity are expected again Sunday. 

Officials said there have been reports of some people refusing to leave. They say that puts those people at risk as well as endangering emergency workers who might be sent in to rescue them.

An evacuation center has been set up at Lower Lake High School, south of Clear Lake. The center is being staffed by American Red Cross as well as representatives from Lake County Department of Social Services. 
 

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